Austin-based online coupon company WhaleShark Media Inc. has added Jeff Smith as its senior director of search engine optimization, and Brian Hoyt as the company’s head of communications. Prior to WhaleShark, Smith worked for six years at HomeAway.com. Hoyt was previously vice president of corporate communications and government affairs for Chicago-based Orbitz Worldwide Inc. WhaleShark is backed by venture capital firms Austin Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, Adams Street Partners and Google Ventures.
WhaleShark Media, Inc. ( www.whalesharkmedia.com ), the world’s leading marketplace for online coupon codes and deals, today announced that it has named Jeff Smith as its senior director of search engine optimization (SEO) and Brian Hoyt as the company’s head of communications.
Both Smith and Hoyt will report into Jill Balis, WhaleShark’s senior vice president of marketing.
“I’m really excited about driving increased awareness of our brands, including RetailMeNot.com, through continued investment in SEO and a more aggressive focus on earned and social media strategies. We want to encourage consumers to visit our sites before they make a purchase so they can shop smart and save every time they buy online,” said Jill Balis, senior vice president, marketing, WhaleShark Media, Inc.
As the company’s new senior director of SEO, Smith will lead all SEO strategy for WhaleShark’s portfolio of brands in the United States. Prior to WhaleShark, Smith was with HomeAway.com where he managed SEO duties for the company in various roles for over six years. At HomeAway, Smith provided thought leadership on SEO and drove SEO product development by working closely with the IT, product management, design and development teams. His leadership on HomeAway’s global platform enabled implementation of SEO best practices for the company’s international websites. Smith’s efforts resulted in consistent and sustained growth in qualified organic search traffic and revenue for the company.
Prior to HomeAway, Smith led areas of content development, online marketing and international customer relations roles for CyberRentals.com and was an editor for Eagle Publications, a daily newspaper publisher in Claremont, NH.
Smith holds a bachelor of arts degree in English from Clark University in Worcester, MA.
“WhaleShark will benefit from Jeff’s strong leadership and extensive knowledge in SEO as we build our brands to grow beyond their current scope and size,” added Balis.
With nearly 15 years of experience in hi-tech and consumer public relations, Hoyt is to direct and manage all U.S. consumer communications for WhaleShark with a primary and immediate focus on building increased brand awareness for RetailMeNot.com ( www.retailmenot.com ), the largest online coupon code website in the United States. Additionally, Hoyt will lead all global financial communications for WhaleShark and coordinate public relations activities with the company’s international brands such as VoucherCodes.co.uk ( www.vouchercodes.co.uk ), the largest online coupon code website in Europe. All consumer marketing and communications outside the United States will continue to operate locally.
Most recently, Hoyt led an award winning public relations program as vice president of corporate communications and government affairs for Chicago-based Orbitz Worldwide, Inc. Hoyt joined Orbitz in 2005 and managed consumer public relations for its U.S. brands, Orbitz.com, CheapTickets.com and Away.com. Hoyt also managed financial communications for Orbitz, including the company’s transition into private equity ownership in 2006, the Orbitz Worldwide IPO in 2007, and subsequent earnings announcements.
Prior to Orbitz, Hoyt was a member of the corporate communications team for AOL, where he managed publicity efforts for AOL News & Sports, AOL Travel and MapQuest.com. Previously, Hoyt was the deputy director of the public affairs practice at Brodeur Worldwide in Washington, DC, a hi-tech communications firm, where he advised clients including the Digital Media Association, Sabre Holdings, Travelocity and a number of other start-ups and well-known technology brands.
In 2007, PR Week ( www.prweekus.com ) named Hoyt to its prestigious “40 Under 40” list, an annual feature spotlighting young public relations professionals who demonstrate innovative thinking and exceptional results. Hoyt holds a bachelor of arts degree in history and political science from Boston College in Chestnut Hill, MA.
“By adding Brian to the team, we are bringing a skilled communicator to WhaleShark who has a proven track record helping to build brands for other leading ecommerce and technology businesses,” said Balis. “I am really thrilled that we are bringing strong talent like Jeff and Brian into important leadership roles here at WhaleShark to accelerate our growth.”
About WhaleShark Media, Inc.
WhaleShark Media, Inc. ( www.whalesharkmedia.com ) is the world’s leading marketplace for online coupons codes and deals. The company’s websites connect consumers seeking savings with discounts from more than 130,000 top merchants, stores and retailers. WhaleShark Media welcomes more than 265 million visitors to shop its sites every year. The WhaleShark Media portfolio of coupon and deal websites includes www.RetailMeNot.com , the largest online coupon site in the United States; www.VoucherCodes.co.uk , the largest online coupon site in Europe; www.Deals.com ; www.Deals2Buy.com ; www.CheapStingyBargains.com ; www.CouponSeven.com ; www.CouponShare.com ; and www.Gutschein-Codes.de . WhaleShark Media is a fast-growing, profitable company funded by venture capital firms Austin Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, Adams Street Partners and Google Ventures.